09/07/2012 Part I
10/19/12 Part II
She grabbed her belly and dropped to her knees. It felt like all of the blood rushed to her head and the room started to spin. She kept saying, “No, no, no, no, no…”!
His parents both started to cry. Her relatives brought her to her feet and helped her outside to get some air. His parents followed. He wasgone. Her relatives and his parents talked around her. She knew she was there, but yet she was very far away. She felt like he came for her. She wanted to go. She wanted to take her baby and go. They had someplace they had to go.
At that time, the only ones who knew she was pregnant was her relatives. They helped her tell his parents. The grief of losing him did not soften with the news. Prayer could not help her. Nothing could help her. The parents and the relatives continued to talk. The parents told her that his body would be delivered back to Pine Ridge where they would have services. They wanted her relatives to make arrangements to bring her with them back to Pine Ridge for the services. The Angry Ojibwa Woman was far away. All she could think about was the future. Memories played over and over again in her head about their walks. Their love. Their dreams. Their baby. His brown hand reaching for the groceries that had fallen to the floor.
When she arrived in Pine Ridge with his parents, she knew why he sent them money every month. They were, “gidimaagenim”. Pitiful: The most pitiful family in the whole world.
The government had found out that he had left a child behind. An insurance check was sent to her. She sent it to his family. He was their insurance. He was their only son.
She traveled back to live with her relatives and to try to continue working. She still held the secret in her belly. She still had not told her father. She now, could not tell anyone. As each day passed, her grief worsened. The rich people were starting to notice that she was not working like she was being paid to do and her relatives could not bring her out of it. They knew they had to do something.
A knock on the door and in came her father. He picked her up and carried her to the car he had borrowed to come get her. They did not talk all the way home. Their relationship had changed.
When they got home, they put her to bed. She could hear them talking into the night. By then, they knew she was pregnant. The old man spoke in a whisper, half in Ojibwemowin and half in English, “Mindimoye, no one must know about the abinoojiiyens! The Father and the Sisters ne manaadis, they will get mad at us! Gaween! They will say to us, NO! Ne boonim, they will stop talking to us! ” The Angry Ojibwa Woman could see her father shaking his hands. She knew he was angry. She knew the secret would be something that was no longer hers.
Her mother was still quietly silent, but the Angry Ojibwa Woman knew that meant. She knew that Nindedee and Nimama had no other choice. She knew that if they let her keep her baby, that the Father and the Sisters would be the next ones to knock at the door. Her tears rolled down her face and soaked every inch of her.
The next morning, her father left to bring the car back to its owner. She heard a soft knocking at the door. Nimama came in to talk to her. From that point forward, her mother would be the one that would talk to her about her future. Her father had to close the door from the past and could not look back.
Nimama helped her each day. She would talk to her about what she was to expect. That she had to eat so that abinoojiiyens would live. She told her about the importance of not looking back. That looking back would hurt her and the abinoojiiyens. That she must let go and pray every day. Each night, her mother would make her kneel and say the rosary. The nights rolled into weeks. The weeks rolled into months. The secret was now between them. The Father and the Sisters did not come to the door. The Angry Ojibwa Woman felt relieved. She felt that maybe Nindedee and NiMama had talked to them. That things were going to be ok if they kneeled every night and said the rosary.
She stayed in the house never going outside. She would look out the window and see her horses. She no longer was able to whisper in their ears. Nimama was taking on all the chores. Milking the cows. Collecting the eggs. She stayed in the house and watched as her memories go away. Each day, abinoojiiyens moved in her belly. He would remind her of the secret and the memories.
One day, as she was washing the dishes, she felt water poor between her legs. It was time. Just like Nimama had told her it would be.
Her father left the house. Nimama and her Aunts all gathered in the kitchen. She could hear them talking, “We are going to take the baby when it comes”, Nimama told them, “The Father and the Sisters all agree that the child would stay with us and that we will raise the abinoojiiyens.” They said that she must pray for what has happened and that she will be forgiven. The Aunts all could be heard agreeing. As each pain came, she would cry. She knew as the pains came closer, her path had been chosen for her and it would never be the same.
It was late into the night and “Joe” was born. The Angry Ojibwa Woman was relieved. The pains were gone. She held him for the first time, kissing him on the forehead and cheeks. She knew that she had done something wonderful, but why did it feel like it was something shameful? The Aunts helped to take care of her after the baby was born. Nimama came in to take Joe. There were no words. Everyone seemed to understand. The Aunts said the rosary for her. She laid there. She felt as if they were praying over her body and that she had died.
They would chant each part of the rosary with the oldest Aunt leading in the prayer. In the background, she could hear Joe crying. Her breasts hurt. They ached. She wanted them to stop so she could go get her baby, but they kept on for hours. Nimama did not come back into the room. The older Aunt would nudge her and make her say the rosary with them. She would say the words but felt nothing as they came out of her mouth.
To Be Continued….